Gun Free Zones/ A Dangerous Folly/America's Reputation/A Solution

After YET AGAIN, and I say that with a sigh of exhaustion, America is YET AGAIN left to deal with the aftermath of a horrid mass shooting, this time right in our own City of Chicago. This original Sculpture was for a parent who lost a child. A human who is empty inside. I’m sure as we get ready to sit down for Thanksgiving most of us feel empty at the loss of  loved ones from senseless violence. Rest in Peace.  A lone madman kills 3 people and himself in a Hospital emergency room, identified as a “GUN FREE ZONE.” As you travel around the City you’ll spot the signs at various locations, Public Transportation hubs, Municipal buildings, theaters, etc. I often wondered if those whose idea it was to post those signs had a clue to  reality.

I’m guessing well meaning people  are of the opinion that a sign would deter a determined potential mass murderer. Any type of research will point out that most mass shootings  take place in what we in law enforcement call “Soft Targets. “The idea being the shooter selects, Schools, Churches, Hospitals, large gatherings, and other locations where they are less likely to meet a resisting force.Are those Signs a temptation to do the opposite and become an inviting lure for determined shooters? The question in my opinion certainly deserves some thought.img_5457-2

After every single horrific mass shooting there is an immediate response, the calls for more gun control, stricter laws, the usual suspects are trotted out,  laying blame on the 2nd amendment, lack of mental health facilities, the blame list is exhausting.  It tugs at all out hearts, the pain of seeing  victims and the effect on loved ones is devastating. It leaves most people empty inside, the grief is overwhelming. Even America is attacked by the rhetoric. The words “This doesn’t happen anywhere on the Planet” bellowed California  Gov-elect Gavin Newsome,”We stand alone in the world in the number of mass shootings gassed U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney D. N/Y, all comments made immediately after a shooter murdered 12 people in the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks California. They are not alone in their thinking. Even President Obama weighed in during his presidency when he said “The one thing we know is that we have a pattern,  mass shootings in our Country  has no parallel anywhere in the world.”

According to John Lotte who is the President of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of “The War on Guns,  America is nowhere near the leader in public mass shootings. The Research Center recently finished updating a list of world wide mass shootings, one he points out in particular, a shooting in Crimea Russia last  year which claimed the lives of 20 people and wounded 65 which was barely mentioned in the U.S. He goes on to list many more examples of mass shootings World wide. Of the 97 countries that were identified, the U.S ranked 64th per capita. Left off the research were the Gang and Cartel killings in Mexico and the U.S, the reason being the  Gang and Cartel wars were over territory and control of the drug trade. A big distinction from mass killings by individuals, to be sure, but a distinction nevertheless.

In my opinion instead of all the same reactions and speeches and blaming the usual suspect’s, perhaps we need to look at a fresh approach. According to Dr. Garen Wintemute these tragedies are preventable. He is an emergency Medicine Physician at the University  (UC) Davis Medical Center and the Director Of UC Davis’s Violence Research Program. He has researched and studied gun violence for over 30 years and is one of the few researchers to approach the matter as an issue of “PUBLIC HEALTH.” I believe he has a legitimate solution, certainly one that is  better than blame, tough speeches and rhetoric, and “gun free zone signs.” Mass shootings need a new and different  approach and the Gangs and the Cartels need an old fashioned approach, arrest, punishment and good old fashioned  accountability. Ignoring bad behavior just invites more. A simple approach that seems to have been lost.  Strong leadership needs to step forth. A City is desperately waiting for that person.



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